Nonviolence

“I sense the urgency of the Holy Spirit, with [over] 7.5 billion humans now on the planet at the same time. Our future is either nonviolent or there is no future at all.

--Richard Rohr

Summary:

  • 8/6-8/8 Nonviolence: training, annual conference & Hiroshima commemoration-all online

  • Nonviolence resources are included below for before or after the above events

  • Jesus gave clear instructions about love for enemies that we’ve conveniently ignored

  • Gandhi and Martin Luther King were courageous enough to apply his teaching

  • Nonviolence begins at home – in each of our hearts

  • Our egoic, small, fear-filled selves are the source of nearly all violence

  • We need some form of contemplative practice to get connected to our True or Higher Selves and then to learn how to live from this expansive, self-and other-loving space

  • We need training to know HOW to access this True/Higher Self that’s already with each of us, so we can love unconditionally

  • Once accessed, the True Self enables us to see that, at this deeper level, we are intimately connected to EVERYTHING: ourselves, other people, our shared earthly home and our Divine Source, known by whatever name we choose.

  • I hope that these resources will help us all on our own journeys to nonviolence…

Step 1: Begin with Ourselves

We are living in a time when violence – of words and actions - seems to be the only method for dealing with issues that are larger than us and with people who are different from us. Violence gives us the illusion that we are in control; when, in fact we are out of control.

NOW is the time to embrace and begin to practice the Teacher’s life-saving, Earth-saving, relationship-building wisdom in the Beatitudes and Sermon on the Mount which addressed: love of enemies, forgiveness, reconciliation, judgment, and harboring hate in our hearts. A few courageous folks who practiced this wisdom included Gandhi and Martin Luther King.

Because of this lack of nonviolent role models, we all need training in HOW to be so.

HOW we do something is as, if not more, important than WHAT we do.

  • We first need to take stock of our interior landscape – are there areas of hatred, mistrust or fear of some class(es) of people that we deem as less than us? From this space of getting our own house in order, we can then move to the outside. HH Dalai Lama has said that inner peace must come before outer peace. Similarly, in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says that our inner attitudes and states are the real sources of our problems, preceding our outward behaviors.

  • We need some form of contemplative practice to enable us to see in “wholes” rather than “poles.” Otherwise, we just take sides and spend all our energy defending our side and attacking the other. For me, contemplation is helping me see the “other” as “me” – and realize that at the level of soul, we are one.

  • We need training in nonviolence – the world of church and state has been run largely by white males, seeking power and control. They conveniently overlook Jesus’ clear teaching on nonviolence and love for enemies. Because of this bias from the top, we need to listen to different voices that show us – those at the bottom - how to think and then live nonviolently and compassionately with one another.

Gandhi on the importance of training in nonviolence for individuals and nations

But if it is necessary for the individual to be trained in nonviolence, it is even more necessary for the nation to be trained likewise. One cannot be non-violent in one's own circle and violent outside it. Or else, one is not truly non-violent even in one's own circle; often the nonviolence is only in appearance. It is only when you meet with resistance, as for instance, when a thief or a murderer appears, that your nonviolence is put on its trail. You either try or should try to oppose the thief with his own weapons, or you try to disarm him by love. Living among decent people, your conduct may not be described as a non-violent. Mutual forbearance is nonviolence. Immediately, therefore, you get the conviction that nonviolence is the law of life, you have to practice it towards those who act violently towards you, and the law must apply to nations as individuals. Training no doubt is necessary. And beginnings are always small. But if the conviction is there, the rest will follow.”



Christian nations have NOT followed the Teacher’s ways

“Christians are usually sincere and well-intentioned people until you get to any real issues of ego, control power, money, pleasure, and security. Then they tend to be pretty much like everybody else. We are often given a bogus version of the Gospel, some fast-food religion, without any deep transformation of the self; and the result has been the spiritual disaster of ‘Christian’ countries that tend to be as consumer-oriented, proud, warlike, racist, class conscious, and addictive as everybody else-and often more so, I'm afraid.

― Richard Rohr, Breathing Underwater

As G.K. Chesterton once said,

“The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried.”

(Source)



Nonviolence Training Workshop, National Conference & Hiroshima & Nagasaki Annual Commemoration – all online – Aug. 6-8

Campaign Nonviolence National Conference & Hiroshima Day Events

August 6-8 Online – Info, Presenters & Tickets here

--Presenters from all faiths and walks of life – including Franciscan Richard Rohr

  • THURSDAY, AUGUST 6, 2020 - HIROSHIMA AND NAGASAKI COMMEMORATION ONLINE AT 8 P.M. EASTERN/5 P.M. PACIFIC. LEARN MORE HERE.

  • FRIDAY, AUGUST 7, 2020 - NONVIOLENCE TRAINING ONLINE 3 P.M. EASTERN / 12 P.M. PACIFIC

  • SATURDAY, AUGUST 8,2020 - CONFERENCE ONLINE BEGINNING AT 12 P.M. EASTERN/9 A.M. PACIFIC

“THE CAMPAIGN NONVIOLENCE NATIONAL CONFERENCE

EMBRACING THE NONVIOLENT SHIFT

MARKING 75TH ANNIVERSARY OF U.S. BOMBING OF HIROSHIMA AND NAGASAKI

In this time of great transition ushered in by a worldwide crisis, nonviolence offers us what we need right now: a vision, strategies, and practices that will equip us to live and lead in the direction of personal and societal transformation.

At this conference, you will experience the wisdom of nonviolence visionaries, scholars and practitioners who will share their expertise from a wide variety of fields. They will offer concrete pathways to build the transformed world our hearts long for, a world free from the violence of racism, poverty, war and the environmental crisis. Join us in embracing the nonviolent shift, connecting with each other and committing to creating a just, healthy and sustainable world for all.”



RESOURCES TO HELP US PARTICIPATE

Being Peaceful Change (a week of meditations on nonviolence-click links for full meditation)

Saturday, August 1, 2020 Summary: Sunday, July 26—Friday, July 31, 2020

Gandhi’s spirit of non-violence sprang from an inner realization of spiritual unity in himself. —Thomas Merton (Sunday)

Authentic spirituality is always first about you—about allowing your own heart and mind to be changed. (Monday)

Nonviolence is the greatest and most active force in the world. The more you develop it in your own being, the more infectious it becomes till it overwhelms your surroundings and by and by might oversweep the world. —­Mohandas Gandhi (Tuesday)

When you understand, you love. And when you love, you naturally act in a way that can relieve the suffering of people. —Thich Nhat Hanh (Wednesday)

We are called to assist the Earth to heal her wounds and in the process heal our own—indeed, to embrace the whole creation in all its diversity, beauty and wonder. —Wangari Maathai (Thursday)

Along the way of life, someone must have sense enough and morality enough to cut off the chain of hate. This can only be done by projecting the ethic of love to the center of our lives. —Martin Luther King, Jr. (Friday)


Practice: A Settled Body


Resmaa Menakem is a therapist and trauma specialist whose work focuses on how we carry our pain and fear in our bodies. We pass it along to those around us, and we pass it down from one generation to the next. We cannot hope to bring peace to the world if we are not at peace within ourselves. Menakem explains how we might begin the peacemaking process within our own bodies:


Few skills are more essential than the ability to settle your body. If you can settle your body, you are more likely to be calm, alert, and fully present, no matter what is going on around you. A settled body enables you to harmonize and connect with other bodies around you, while encouraging those bodies to settle as well. Gather together a large group of unsettled bodies­—­or assemble a group of bodies and then unsettle them—and you get a mob or a riot. But bring a large group of settled bodies together and you have a potential movement—and a potential force for tremendous good in the world. A calm, settled body is the foundation for health, for healing, for helping others, and for changing the world. . . .

Over time, I learned to access a settledness that is always and already present. I usually call it the Infinite Source, but it doesn’t require a name, or an explanation, or a belief.

This settling of nervous systems, and this connection to a larger Source, is vital to healing. . . .

You’ll recognize some of these practices as things I’ve described my [Black] grandmother doing; as things many small children do intuitively; as things parents often do with their babies; as things enslaved people did as they worked together on plantations; and as practices from many religions. Almost all of them [such as belly breathing, slow rocking, humming, singing aloud, or rubbing your belly] have also been proven to work in controlled lab experiments.


Here, Resmaa Menakem offers a practice called “Breathe, Ground, and Resource,” which can be done standing, sitting, or lying down, with eyes open or closed.


Take a few deep breaths. Let your body relax as much as it wants to.


Think of a person, an animal, or a place that makes you feel safe and secure. Then imagine that, right now, this person or animal is beside you, or you are in that safe place.


Breathing naturally, simply let yourself experience that safety and security for one to two minutes.


Afterward, notice how and what you experience in your body.


“The undigested emotional material of a lifetime is stored in our bodies.”

--Thomas Keating (my paraphrase of hearing him say this on many occasions)

“If we don’t transform our pain, we will transmit it.”

--Richard Rohr

Personal example: In recent years, I’ve been developing a growing awareness of how my body holds tension and learning practice that enable me to release the tension and relax. This is critical, because I lost my colon to stress (30+ years of ulcerative colitis) and I’m not sacrificing any more body parts! These practices began 15+ years ago with centering prayer and grew to include kundalini yoga, mindfulness, time in nature and listening to music.



Nonviolence: Stanford - The Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute

  • “True pacifism,” or “nonviolent resistance,” King wrote, is “a courageous confrontation of evil by the power of love”

  • Both “morally and practically” committed to nonviolence, King believed that “the Christian doctrine of love operating through the Gandhian method of nonviolence was one of the most potent weapons available to oppressed people in their struggle for freedom”

  • King called the principle of nonviolent resistance the “guiding light of our movement. Christ furnished the spirit and motivation while Gandhi furnished the method”

  • King’s notion of nonviolence had six key principles. See article for details.

Nonviolence: The Third Way

--“Walter Wink (1935–2012), with whom I taught at several conferences some years ago, wrote a brilliant book, Jesus and Nonviolence, on a third way between fight and flight. I can see why Jesus calls it ‘a narrow path,’ as it’s not the ego’s default or preferred method. Read on. . . .

There are three general responses to evil: (1) passivity, (2) violent opposition, and (3) the third way of . . . nonviolence articulated by Jesus. Human evolution has conditioned us for only the first two of these responses. . . .

Jesus abhors both passivity and violence as responses to evil. His is a third alternative not even touched by these options. . . .”

Nonviolence: Weekly summary Sept. 2017

--(from Sunday) “I sense the urgency of the Holy Spirit, with 7.5 billion humans now on the planet at the same time. Our future is either nonviolent or there is no future at all.”


Radical Politics

-- “In his Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7), Jesus directly says that our inner attitudes and states are the real sources of our problems, preceding our outward behaviors.”


Nonviolence and Peace Movements: Crash Course World History 228 (0:12:48)

--easy to follow summary outlining history of nonviolence & peace movements

--includes Leo Tolstoy’s (War and Peace author) influence on Gandhi





A New Story of Justice: Nonviolence and Restorative Justice (0:03:30)

--presents benefits to victims & offenders of two forms of justice:

  • Retributive (an eye for an eye)

  • Restorative (aims for mutual healing of relationships)

--[The retributive justice system] is the most powerful stimulant of violence that we have yet discovered. ~ James Gilligan

--Mass incarceration is one of the most painful issues in our society.

The Neuroscience of Restorative Justice | Dan Reisel - TED (0:14:35)


Nonviolence Playlist – coming soon, check my YouTube Channel

Peace,

tOM

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